Addressing over four hundred students, First Lady Mrs Jeannette Kagame urged them to desist from ‘mental poverty’.
Mrs Kagame, was speaking in her capacity as the patron of the charity organisation, The Imbuto Foundation, that organised the three day youth retreat, under the theme ‘Educate, Engage, Empower’.
There can be no better message for Rwanda’s youth, the country’s future. They have the big challenge of taking over a country that has gone through such tremendous changes from being a symbol of desperation and shame in the 1994 Tutsi genocide, to being a beacon of hope.
They have the task of maintaining the pace the current leadership has set.
Hope for these youngsters who now have opportunities availed to them in abundance more than their parents or grandparents ever had.
Access to education alone was a political class privilege. Mrs Kagame warned the youths to be disciplined when dealing with adolescence problems, also cautioning them against the negative influences from those who still habour the genocide ideology.
Thus, Mrs Kagame’s vision of empowering youths for them not to fall victim to the scourge of ‘mental poverty’, is crucial not only to the future development of Rwanda, but marks an important break from the past.
While she delivered the speech of hope to the youth, the French government’s true colours were also being exposed. In the assertion by Foreign Affairs Minister, Bernard Kouchner that diplomacy can’t be dictated only by human rights.
We now understand the mental blockage that country suffers when it comes to acknowledging sins committed during the 1994 Tutsi Genocide.
But there are questions to ask as Rwanda celebrates great achievements since her country’s liberation, as the world marks the 60th Anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Repression of the Crime of Genocide.
If diplomacy is not about stopping the human carnage that Rwanda’s leadership is so strenuously trying to break away from, creating new value politics, then what is the point?
If the suffering or cries of anguish of any citizens in any part of the world are not your moral concern as a global leader? Then what is?
Perhaps the message of avoiding a ‘mental slavery,’ should now spread beyond Rwanda or Africa’s borders. For many are in need of a programme under the theme, ‘Educate, Engage, Empower.’